Ricotta is a fresh, unripened cheese made from sheep, cow, goat, or water buffalo milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Like other whey cheeses, it is made by coagulating the proteins that remain after the casein has been used to make cheese, notably albumin and globulin.
Ricotta (literally meaning “recooked”) protein can be harvested if the whey is first allowed to become more acidic by additional fermentation (by letting it sit for 12–24 hours at room temperature). Then, the acidified whey is heated to near-boiling. Once cooled, it is separated by passing the liquid through a fine cloth, leaving the curd behind. Ricotta curds are creamy white in appearance, and slightly sweet in taste.
While Italian ricotta is typically made from the whey of sheep, cow, goat, or water buffalo milk, the American product is almost always made of cow’s milk. While both types are low in fat and sodium, the Italian version is naturally sweet, while the American is a tad saltier and moister.
Our version is from Calabro of Connecticut. We hand pack the ricotta into one-cup containers every few days to ensure freshness and consistency.
It’s the perfect ingredient for baked pasta dishes, cheesecake, on a pizza, as a morning meal with fruit or granola mixed in, in pancake batter, folded into hummus, baked (as a savory or sweet dish), slathered on toast, fried (with powdered sugar added on top), or even stuffed under the skin (with fresh herbs) of a chicken.